Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TE - Rejected Suitor

Theistic evolutionists, who now wish to be known as evolutionary creationists, are experiencing a chilly reception from naturalistic evolutionists. Both terms are problematic in the realm of evolutionary science. “Theistic” and “creationist” are not fitting descriptors within the paradigm of evolutionism. Evangelical evolutionary creationists, in particular, would acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God of scripture as the agent of creation, directly or indirectly making things happen (creating). One wonders if the problem is the proper understanding of reality or merely one of semantics.

Creationism and theism both fall outside the purview of naturalism. The adjective theistic implies the existence of a supernatural entity. Creationism, as a noun, implies the action of a supernatural entity. Neither term falls within the realm of science. Creationists are urged, in various ways, to make peace with science and embrace it in order to discover truth on origins. But science is not on the verge of making peace with theism or creationism, notwithstanding the pleasant “concordat” claimed by some naturalistic scientists to exist. Concordat is a term used by the late Stephen Jay Gould in his famous 1997 NOMA article in Natural History. Gould stated, “I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving concordat between our magisteria.” He referred to the magisteria of science and theology.

Historically, concordats have existed between authorities in church and state. They govern details of the roles of authority administered in independent spheres. Peaceful co-existence usually prevailed but some concordats were characterized by tension. Today science and theology are said to be separate realms of authority with neither impinging on the other.

These descriptions of the connections between science and faith ring with a pleasing sound until we grasp the reality of a shocking disconnect. Secular evolutionary scientists embrace neither theism nor creationism. The NOMA principle (non-overlapping magesteria) endorsed by the science, media, educational, and judicial establishments of our culture keeps theism and creationism at bay. Theistic evolutionists (evolutionary creationists) wish to be perceived as intellectually credible in our culture, but their efforts at rapprochement with secular evolutionism are doomed to dismal failure.

I urge theistic evolutionists to examine the reality of this difficult state of affairs. As suitors to evolutionary science, they are experiencing the pain of rejection. Their views also alienate them from their creationist brethren. They find themselves wedged between adjacent groups who reject them for entirely different reasons. They have endorsed the conclusions of evolutionary consensus science increasingly questioned even by the evolutionists themselves. Theistic evolutionists have rejected intelligent design and many other propositions of scripture with respect to creation events, especially the fiat creation of man in the Image of God.